Category Archives: Business

Protect workers engaged in excavation and trenching works

The Occupational Safety and health Administration and laid down some stringent laws that protects the rights of the laborers engaged in perilous job activities. Now it becomes the onus of the construction companies to follow those laws or else the license to continue business will get scrapped. Just one complaint from anybody and if the authorities find that the laws were not followed it can pose a lot of problem to the construction company. This is why it is a must to all the construction companies that they take uttermost care in ensuring that the workers working in perilous conditions are provided with enough protection so that if there happens to be an untoward incident the number of casualty is limited. Dangers are immense for construction workers that are engaged in excavation and trenching works. Though both excavation and trenching are different from each other but they both carry enough risk that may cause huge casualty and therefore enough care needs to be taken to protect the life of the workers.

Before any excavation or trenching work begins, the construction company should do a thorough study of the soil. It will help them understand the kind of risk one has to undergo and also the kind of precautionary steps the company needs to take to ensure the lives of all the workers are protected. No soil from two different places is similar to each other and therefore when the excavation process begins the soil may act differently. Trenching work is more difficult than excavation work and time and again it has been observed how important it is to understand the soil composition first and then start with the trenching work. Pre-planning of excavation or trenching work is also equally important. There are many things that one needs to take into consideration and plan everything in advance to the initiation of the project. Companies who are experienced in excavation works do not take pre-planning lightly and understand its importance towards the success of the project.

For companies that are new into excavation work, they need to be little careful with what they do. First and foremost they need to prepare a checklist of the things that they require and the things that they need to check prior to starting the work. Things such as the weather of the place, the traffic around the place, soil classification, the surface and the ground water, overhead and underground utilities etc. needs to be checked. These things should be known to the company before it places bids on the project. Once that is done it also needs to check the number of ladders it may require, the fall protection needs, safety equipment needs etc. They can gather much of this information from the local authority officials and other utility companies. This will help him to figure out an approximate cost to the project and also the cost of the safety equipment he need to garner to ensure the project is completed safely and without any harm to any of its employees.

Communication is key for a heavy equipment operator!

Have you ever been to a construction site? There are so many things that go on – creating the foundation for the structure, moving of the heavy construction equipment, workers randomly moving and working here and there! It is quite possible that you hurt yourself, if you are not properly aware of what is going on and where.

Proper safety gears must be worn and used by everyone who is working as well as moving about in the construction site. At some place, there might be some concrete construction going on and on the other side, there can be structures of glass being made. Being careless can be dangerous for you as well as for others.

What needs to be done?

Very construction site follows some basic safety measures such as –

  • Wearing safety gears – high visibility jackets, eye protection gears, helmets etc.
  • There are boards and signs that clearly indicate the actions or steps that need to be taken
  • Things that are prohibited and should not be done.

Whether you are a worker or even a visitor at the construction site, you need to make sure that all these measures are followed by you.

Operating the Heavy Construction Equipment:

Heavy construction equipment is something that cannot be operated by everyone. It needs skill, training and certificate. Therefore, when you are about to operate the heavy construction equipment such as loaders, excavators or backhoes, lifts or cranes, it is a must that you communicate well with the other workers.

The heavy construction equipment often moves very fast and swiftly. Within a fraction of a second and just by clicking on a single button or by moving the steering handle or joystick slightly, the lifts, cranes or the buckets can move swiftly from one direction to the other. Hence, the unaware and inattentive workers can get hurt or harmed by the movement of the heavy construction equipment.

On the other hand, it is also quite not possible to remove the workers from the construction site. The reason is that the workers do all the manual labour and make sure that the dumping, excavating, lifting and all other construction works are performed well.

How to communicate with the workers?

There are some key factors that the heavy construction equipment operator must keep in mind. The machines or equipment move quite fast and swiftly on all directions. Hence, before pulling or pushing the steering handle, a concerned person must indicate the clearance of the ground. It is only then that the operator should start the task.

On the other hand, the concerned person should communicate with the other field workers. It is only when the workers give thumbs up to proper tie up of the objects that need to be lifted, or the clearance of the excavation ground or the proper direction of the dumping ground that the operator would start the action. Hence, it is a chained or a linked process that is successful only when all the workers and the heavy construction equipment operator communicate together well. To communicate with each other, signs or boards, high frequency lights, torches etc. are frequently used. But the traditionally popular method of communication is two-way radios, though smartphones are also widely used nowadays.

Team work matters most in the construction business

Dreaming big is a good thing but when you want to make your dreams come true you have to follow some very basic principles that will help you reach the place you want to go. The most important principle that you can’t afford to miss is to learn to work in a team. You may be the owner of your business but you should give equal importance to all the members of your company. You should know the importance of your team and how they function and you can know this only when you become a part of them. Working in a team and working as a team are both important factors that one should learn well if you want to take his business to the next level and especially when you are part of a much volatile industry like construction. Construction industry will give you no scope to survive or grow if you do not want to work as a team. Individual players have absolutely no role in this segment of business. They might stay for some time but will not be able to carry it along for long and will see problems erupting which he will find it difficult to manage it alone.

Though this sector is an alluring one and promises to give good returns if you are ready to work hard but just working hard will not take you to the top. You have to also take into account factors like working in a team.

You know where the business is going:-

When you are working alone and try to manage everything on your own, there are high chances that you may miss out on many things. It is never simple to manage a business alone and you need people to whom you will distribute your work so that they can take care of their part and you can take a report from them and understand where the business is heading. This is how it is supposed to work. You doing the work alone will take you nowhere as you will not have the slightest idea what exactly is going on. You will have no one to prepare reports for you and in case you have a department who does this thing, it is crucial that you maintain good rapport with them. In other words, have good team bonding with them which will also help them to work comfortably.

Team work makes things simple:-

In a big construction company, they have many different levels of departments and if there is sync between each department then things become simpler. The progress of work can be understood more clearly. This will also help you to move forward in your business and clear your paths for any possible expansion in the near future. You can have a bird view on the performance of your business if there is proper team work. The level of co-ordination amongst all the teams will define how successful you can become with your business.

Know the intricacies of the construction business

The construction business is one of the most popular and profitable businesses in the current scenario. People choose the real estate business for investments and also everyone desires to have a property of his or her own. Hence, if you too are looking for a business that will fetch you great profits within a very short span, the construction business is the right one for you.

But, before you start the construction business, it is a must that you know about the intricacies of the construction business. With proper details, you will be able to establish your business fast and will also be able to enjoy the profits soon.

  • Get the finances:

 

The first thing that you need to start or establish a business is finance. Without finances, you will never be able to start any business. However, the construction business is one of those businesses that require huge amount of start-up capital.

For that you need to chalk out a business plan that will help you to fetch bank loans. The plan must clearly state how many employees you are going to have, your target market and how you plan to achieve the target. The initial cost and the potential profit that you will earn from it must be clearly mentioned in the plan. If you do not know how to right a good business plan, hire a skilled professional, who knows how to write business plans for a construction business.

  • Tools and heavy construction equipment:

 

One of the very important intricate factors associated with construction business is the expense of tools, heavy construction equipment and machineries. If you can afford, you can buy them. You will certainly get the brand new equipment as well as the old equipment. There are many dealers, who deal in the new and old construction equipment and will easily find one for you. You can also rent the equipment, tools and machineries for your projects initially, if you do not want to engage a lump sum amount of money in buying them.

  • Setup the business office:

 

The construction business demands a physical office, where all the employees, the clients and the customers can come in to deal. You must also keep in mind that along with the office building, you need a parking space for the construction equipment, machineries and tools.

  • Licensed and insured:

 

If you want to be fair and gain acknowledgement within a short span of time, having your business licensed and insured is a must. This will give the customers the assurance and guarantee that your company is there to stay. Certainly this will have an impact on the prices of your projects, increasing the profit margin.

  • Safety plans for the employees:

 

Since the construction business works onsite and there are numerous workers, who will be working on the many construction projects, their safety plans and occupational health plans is your responsibility. You must offer them to the employees, so that they are happy working with you and do not bring your business to a standstill under any circumstances.

Owning a construction business – Promote it on Social Media

It is somewhat difficult to promote a construction business if you do not have a goodwill that supports to name of the company. This form of the business is so big and widely spread that it may take ages for you to set up an identity of your own. You not only got to work really hard but also equally smart in order to make a mark in this industry. So when we talk about smart work, the smartest will be to find an easier way to communicate to the mass about your business and in this process get some work and recognition from people. You can make use of a very powerful tool that will help you connect to many people at a given point in time. The people with whom you are getting connected to may or may not know you but irrespective of that you can put your word across to the mass. You can make use of Social Media.

It has been witnessed that almost every company across any industry has their website where they can post about their information. Similarly, they are fast approaching the concept of having an account in a Social Media forum so that people can go there and check the reviews left by others. Many from the construction business have also taken the same approach. In order to promote their business, they open an account in a Social Media website and from there they post messages about their business, their achievements and the activities they conduct so that people who might require their service are aware of them and can contact them when required.

Almost every internet savvy person today has an account in some or the other Social Media website. They do this so that they can stay in close contact with their friends and loved ones. Off late, it has been seen that people who have their businesses have started promoting them on these websites. However, they prefer to keep it official and do not post pictures that are casual. Likewise, when you are creating an account for your construction business, do not post any casual pictures of you hanging around with your pals. Try to keep it as much professional as you can. Post pictures that are linked with your jobsite. Pictures like heavy equipment working on the site, engineers talking with the laborers explaining what needs to be done and stuff.

Mentioning a bit about your achievements on the Social Media website also helps a lot. There are job seekers and job givers both available on the Social Media website and if any of the job giver finds the quality of your work in compatible to his requirements, he may give you an assignment to work on. You can also customize your account to make it look attractive. There are loads of options available that you can opt to make it work. Many have found this to be a great tool to promote their business and when it comes to construction, it can’t get better than this.

 

Summer is deadly. Ensure that your employees are hydrated

It becomes difficult to work on a hot summer and under the scorching heat of the sun ready to burn you down. Only the heavy equipment operators who get the privilege to work inside an air-conditioned cabin may get a bit of relief but for other workers, they may not see a solution. They have to work under the hot sun and need to ensure that they keep themselves hydrated at all times. It is common biology. More than 70% of our body is of water and when the balance is disturbed it may cause all sorts of problem to the human body. Now you do not want to fall sick just because you have failed to consume water and forced yourself to work in the hot summer. It is quite certain that your body will not be able to take this and will show signs of breaking down.

Water is an important component that you should have continuously during summer but other than that you should also intake items that helps to keep your body hydrated. There are certain fruits that play a crucial role as far as hydration of your body is concerned. So the employees working in the construction site should make a note to keep some fruits in their bag and eat them whenever they get some time out of work. To name few fruits, watermelon, orange, papaya, grapes are rich in nutrients that keep your body hydrated. Watermelon is considered to be the fruit that can supplement water. So in case you are working at a site that does not give you easy accessibility to water, you can keep some pieces of melons in a box and gulp it whenever you can. You do not have to go far to fetch water and can simply have this to stay hydrated.

When you sweat a lot, you are losing water from your body. Always try to keep your body wet with water. You can carry some ice and place it on a towel. Wrap it well and tie it around your shoulders. You can also use it to wipe the seat from your body. In this way, you not only wipe off the sweat but also hydrate your skin. You can also make use of shakes that contains lot of water and some portion of milk and fruits. You should keep taking sips at regular intervals.

Keeping the construction workers hydrated during summer should be the responsibility of the business owner. They may not provide everybody with fruits but can definitely arrange for sufficient water at all times. The employees should not run from pillar to post just to fill in a bottle of water. You can keep water storage tanks with water purifier attached to it at every convenient point. If the jobsite is big and one needs direction, then there should be signboards showing signs from where the bottles can be filled. Please do not take dehydration lightly as it can even cost a person’s life. So ensure that all your employees are properly hydrates and are therefore equally healthy.

Maintain your focus throughout your journey in the construction business

We must have seen many individuals making it big in their business but at the same time have also heard stories about few who dreamt of owning an empire but could not do much. There are also numerous stories where people have flunked in their business after having spent considerable number of years in it. It definitely feels sad hearing to nostalgic events but it is more important to gather lessons that life has taught them. We can also learn about those mistakes which they have committed and that we should not be doing when we are pursuing our dream to set up a business empire. One of the most crucial things that every business owner needs to have is being focused with what they are doing. They need to understand that they will come across too many distractions and they have to overcome those distractions by remaining focused to their job. If they are connected to an industry that is volatile and can take any turn, they got to be careful for every step that they take.

One such industry that is quite unpredictable and needs a lot of focus to remain afloat is the construction domain. If you are a new startup company and are struggling hard to remain intact in the market there is a higher chance that you may lose your focus and get diverted to things that are important to you but not at the moment. Construction industry has its phase and like every other industry which has good as well as bad phase, it too has its share with the good and bad phases. So you got to understand how to duck the bad phase and score during the good times. How to do this can be better learnt by remaining focused to your work. When you are attentive, you sort of mark down the mistakes that you did and avoid doing them again. This is what many skip to do.

In the construction world, you will come with new challenges every other day and these new challenges are nothing but mere distractions. You got to learn to manage them and come out with a solution without losing your focus. If you lose it then you get diverted in dealing those challenges and get so messed up that you eventually think of doing away with the business. Though it is a fact that you have to deal with all the business challenge alone but that does not mean that you will get strayed away from your core objective. That is the crux that you need to learn.

Negativity is another big challenge that can let you down quite easily. While you are new to the business, you will come across many people who will advice you negatively. People may say that the initiative that you have taken will not work and will come up with number of reasons why it will not. You will hardly come across anyone who will support you for your efforts. It is this moment where you being focused come to play. You should be confident about the initiatives but also not give others a deaf ear. Go ahead with things that you are confident and there are many examples of people who have proves other wrong by believing in themselves.

Review of strategy is important for the growth of a construction company

We often consider planning to be one of the most important components towards the growth of a business but there is something that is equally important and that is reviewing those plans. It makes absolutely no sense to prepare a plan if we do not take care to review it. Things may go haywire and we will not even get to know about it as long as we do not sit to check the ground reality. This is why reviewing the plans is very crucial for the growth of any company. It becomes all the more important when one is take care of his construction business. This form of the business has too many ups and downs in it and one has to go through a lot of hardships to put everything in place. To set things right, a lot of people have to get involved in various sets of planning and knowing the nature of the business which is pretty dynamic and where anything can happen at any moment, one needs to make sure that he keeps on checking if the actual are in sync with the proposed plan and if not take corrective measures to set it right.

Involving all the head of departments for setting the plan:-

When you are building a plan, it is essential that you involve the heads of all the departments so that they can all give their inputs pertaining to the cause of the plan. You can have deep insights from them about how the department can perform and if there will be any requirement of additional workforce in the due span. You can rely on their advices and then go about framing the plan. In this way, they all will be aware of your goals and then it just will not be your goal but will become the goal of the company. It is not just you who will be working hard to realize the goals but your entire team will be with you.

Have a quarterly meeting with all of them to check the actual:-

Reviewing of plans should be conducted once in 3 months. This lets us know the real picture from the proposed one and what needs to be done to get things back on track if at all it is out of place. It also ensures that things do not completely out of hand which is possible if you take up the same meeting after a year. You will probably find that the damage has become irreparable and may have to start all over. That will be a sad part for the management also a question on your leadership quality.

Check area of opportunities and eliminate threats:-

It is only during the review that you get to know the possible threats that exist and can act as a big danger to the project. You can’t get to know the threats while you chalk out the plan. In the same way, while you start working on a plan you also come to know if there are any more opportunities that you can explore. Pick up all the opportunities and try and eliminate the threats.

Avoid making poor investments that can cost you your company

Taking right decision and making good investments are both quite crucial for the success of any business and when it is about construction, you got to be sharper with your thinking skills. Any poor decision can cost your business a lot and simultaneously any bad investment can have a drastic impact on your business. When you are dealing with investments in the construction sector, you are ideally dealing with lot of money and you got to be doubly sure that the plan will not backfire before you go ahead with the decision of making some big investments. For instance, you plan to hire some men for a new project that you foresee to bag. You are somehow confident of the fact that you will be able to get the project and have therefore allocated capital to pay salary for the additional workforce. In this scenario, you are heavily investing on human resources. So as long as you are not completely sure about the project, you should hold up your plan to hire any further resource.

People have lost millions in their business after having made the mistake of making poor investments. They were not aware that situation will take a downturn and they will have a hard time to come up with it and will lose a major chunk of their business capital. Even the most powerful in the construction sector have to face the music at times and they learn their lessons the hard way. There have been cases where the head of the departments had to resign for taking callous investment decisions that has cost the company a bomb. Mighty construction companies at still able to take the blow of bad investments but it is irreparable loss to small construction houses and contractors who vie for every small project.

Buying heavy equipment has been one of the most common poor investments by big as well as small construction companies. For some reason they could not figure out the kind of heavy equipment they need and they end up buying machines that were not required in the first place. They realize it later that the machine they have bought was capable of doing multiple tasks and they need not buy more machines. Since they have already invested in heavy equipment, they are left with not many options. They either sell it off at a lesser price or let it out to others.

In case, they have taken loans to buy heavy equipment, things become all the more difficult. They have to pay the bank the entire amount along with the interest or else it might have an impact on their credit rating which is in no ways good for the business. You get investments from private investors who are not necessarily banks and they invest in you by knowing that you have a good credit rating. So any poor investment decision should not be the reason for your credit rating to take a dip. This is perhaps the last thing you would want to happen.

Keep a Plan “B” handy when things do not go your way

Businesses in any industry functions on lot of planning and strategies. The strategies are usually laid to keep things moving and to pursue the overall motto of the company and that is the growth of the company. But there are times when the plans that you have set up do not go in sync with the current situation and this is when there is a likeliness of things going out of control. This is when a Plan “B” comes into picture. By Plan “B”, we refer to a secondary plan which is in place to defend the company from any backlash that comes as a result of the failure of Plan “A”. So when you see that you are preparing a plan which you feel that has half a percentage chance to succeed, you should also think about preparing a correspondent plan that will take over the initial plan if that fails to work out.

Preparing a Plan “B” is easy but following it is difficult. You need to do some brainstorming and discuss things with people from all the departments on things that you should do if the initial plan does not work out. You may even get suggestions that you will find wise enough to be followed but the real challenge is to implement the secondary plan. You have to change the complete course of action from the first plan to the second. This is undoubtedly the most difficult part because it means that there has to be some sort of changes in every department and not everybody can easily accept changes nor it is simple to bring changes throughout the company if yours is a mighty big one. Therefore before you think about jumping for a Plan “B” it is imperative that you understand the pros and cons and also the shape it will give to your company.

If it is a plan that will not have a major impact on the functioning as well as the finances of the company, then perhaps there is no need to have a secondary plan. Yu can always term the first plan as obsolete and move on with something else. But the problem will be when you are thinking of acquiring another construction company where you will have the maximum stake. In situations like these, you not only put the future of the company at stake but also the interest of the shareholders who have invested their money by trusting your thought process. This means that you can’t afford to go wrong and in case if you do then there should be a plan to back the backlash of your initial plan.

Do not forecast a lot and work more on ground realities. When you forecast a lot, you keep a lot at stake and if your forecasts keeping going wrong, it adversely impacts you as well as the company. Being foresighted is good but if you forecast just on the basis that it will all go your way, then that may prove to be a bad move.